Who is Bill Volckening?
Bill Volckening calls himself a quilt magnet because of his uncanny ability to find great quilts, but he did not originally set out to be a quilt collector. When he bought his first quilt in 1989, he intended to display it on a wall in his home, but realized the quilt was too old and valuable to hang perpetually. So he found another quilt and planned to rotate the two. As the decor evolved, he bought quilts to fit in with the furniture or paint color. When he moved into his first house, he had more walls...so he bought more quilts. Still, collecting quilts was just a hobby. At times, Bill made efforts to share quilts with local quilt guilds, women’s groups and in exhibits. But for years his collection was unknown to most people.
He bought a lot of quilts online, and steadily built the collection despite having little involvement with the quilt community. He collected for 20 years and hardly anyone knew. In 2009, Bill showed his collection of New York Beauties to a local quilt study group, and the quilt history enthusiasts gave him a new perspective on his collection. It was something more. He made an effort to share the quilts from that point forward, and it led to many opportunities; most notably, his new book “New York Beauty, Quilts from the Volckening Collection” published by Quiltmania in France (2015). Bill’s award-winning blog Wonkyworld reveals the process of collecting from the perspective of a 21st century collector. It is about the thrill of the hunt and the bounty, and is the ever-unfolding story of a truly remarkable quilt journey.
In addition to the quilt collection, Bill has an extensive library with many rare titles and signed editions; a small ephemera collection, and a wonderful network of people with specialized knowledge about all things quilt-related. Bill studied at Rhode Island School of Design (1984-86), School of Visual Arts (BFA 1988), and was part of a select graduate program at New York University and the International Center of Photography (MA 1991). He is an award-winning photographer, quiltmaker, and his work has been published globally.
Quilts from The Volckening Collection have been exhibited from New York to Tokyo, and appeared in various publications worldwide.